Suddenly I’m pulled around and Liam wraps me in his strong arms. Relief washes over me. I can finally breathe again. “Oh, thank God.”

The warmth of his palms frames my face. “I’m okay. We’re okay.”

“It’s not okay. It’s not. I told you to stop saying that. Just because you say it does not make it so, Liam. You think it does. You think you can will it, whatever “it” is, at the moment to happen, and make it so. You think--” He scoops me up and starts walking. “Stop picking me up. Stop acting macho before it gets you killed.”

“She’s pregnant,” he tells a fireman, ignoring me. “I need her checked out.”

“I don’t need--” I begin.

“You do,” Liam insists, rotating around so that I can see the EMS truck and a man in uniform. “She needs to be checked, but give us a minute, will you?”

The man moves aside and Liam climbs into the truck, setting me on the bed and joining me. I slide my hand to his leg. “You shouldn’t have gone back in. You shouldn’t--”

He leans in and kisses me, the touch of his mouth on mine sending a wave of warmth through me and I cup his face, holding his cheeks. “Don’t do that to me again,” I whisper on a breath. “It was like having my heart ripped from my chest.”

“I wouldn’t scare you or hurt you on purpose.” He curls my hand in his. “Talk to me about the bomb.”

“I remember being on the roof of my house. I was trying to get to the tree to jump and the house exploded.”

“Fire can do that, baby.”

“But the alarms in the house didn’t go off. Not one of them, Liam.”

His expression darkens. “Listen to me, Amy. They brought in bomb-sniffing dogs, but that comes with questions and complications. Don’t talk about this to anyone. Tell them you were panicked and hysterical.”

“I don’t believe this was coincidence, so if there wasn’t a bomb or a fire, why do this?”

“Good question, and exactly why we need out of here and the country before we find out.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Stone.” Liam twists around to glance at the police officer standing at the end of the EMS vehicle, who says, “Can I ask you both some questions?”

“Me,” Liam replies. “Yes. Not her. She’s pregnant. I don’t want her stressed.” Liam doesn’t give the officer a chance to object, turning back to me. “I’ll be right outside. I’m sending the EMS guy in to check you out.” He leans in as he had in the house, pressing his cheek to mine. “We are out of here the instant we navigate the red tape and sooner if I get worried.”

He’s gone in an instant then and a forty-something EMS worker climbs inside with me. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine now.” The uncertain look he gives me tells me he probably witnessed my meltdown. “Really. I’m fine.”

He squats in front of me. “Let’s get your stats to be sure.”

The rumble of Liam’s voice lifting, telling me he is near, and the fact that I really don’t want to answer questions, keeps my butt on the bed. “Yes, please.”

A few minutes later, he finishes up. “You’re all clear but I still think you should rest here until we can get you to the hospital to check out the baby.”

“The baby?”

“Is fine,” he says. “But it’s always good to be careful. Safety first.”

“Right,” I say of the words Liam had used before we’d gone to sleep and for some reason I think of the gun in my purse. “Safety first.”

A fireman appears at the end of the truck and motions to the man, who excuses himself and goes to speak with him. I strain my ears for Liam and can still hear him but it’s impossible to make out anything he’s saying. The EMS worker returns and squats beside me again. “Special delivery. You have someone worried about you who can’t get past security.” He hands me a folded note and adds, “From your brother, I’m told.”

My heart begins to thunder in my ears and everything seems to sway and tilt around me. Chad is alive? It can’t be but...I’m alive.

The EMS tech pats my leg. “I need to call in to my boss on the radio. If you want to get a message to your brother let me know.” He moves to the front of the vehicle and claims a seat.

I stare at the white piece of paper and my heart is in my throat. I’m afraid to open the note and have my fast expanding hope shattered, but I have to know. I flip it open and read the unfamiliar writing.

Amy,

I wish I could say this in person. This is Meg. I know you think I work at the Denver real estate office but I’m actually your sister-in-law. Chad didn’t die in the fire. He hid like he hid you. They found him right after he moved you to Denver. They took him. Now they want something from us or they’re going to kill him. They think you and I both know what that is. I hope you do because I don’t. We have to save Chad. I’m not sure what is up with Liam. I think he could be involved or after what they’re after. If he’s not and he gets in the middle of this, they’ll kill him like they do anyone who gets in their way. I’m in a cab across the street. I’m sure you know, but cellphones are traceable. Leave yours. Just walk out of the open gate and come to me. No one is expecting that. Hurry before you can’t. Chad’s life depends on it.

I hunch forward. Bile gathers in my throat, the acid burn of emotions that shift and change from second to second, almost too much to handle. Chad alive? Meg is his wife? Liam is involved? I expect to feel joy over Chad and heartache over Liam, but in my heart I believe nothing in this letter. This is a trap. The moment there was a threat to Liam, I was snagged.

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